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Call to Bloggers: Blogging For a Cure

September 13th, 2007 (08:37 am)

Current Mood: sad
Current Song: Those You've Known from Spring Awakening

The following post by Jules of Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast has been reprinted here with permission.

Call to Bloggers: Blogging For a Cure

By now, you have probably read the very sad news of the death of Robert Mercer, Grace Lin's husband, at the end of last month, due to cancer.

You may remember from our May '07 interview with Grace that she was the driving force behind the Robert's Snow: for Cancer's Cure fundraising effort after Robert was initially diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma and after writing Robert's Snow (Viking Books; 2004) soon after that diagnosis. The fundraising effort entailed the auctioning off of special snowflakes, created by children's book illustrators, whom Grace had gathered together in the name of raising money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI). The auction raised a great deal of money in its first year after the publication of this book, which features these illustrators, many of them award-winning, and their creatively and uniquely designed wood snowflakes for the cause. One hundred percent of the royalties from the book's sale went to the DFCI to support sarcoma research. Robert's Snow is in its third year and has already raised more than $200,000 for Dana-Farber. (You can see the 2005 snowflakes here).

This year, more than 200 well-known children's book illustrators from around the world have been given a five-inch wooden snowflake to decorate at will. Like actual snowflakes, each design is unique. The 2007 online auctions for bidding on these hand-painted snowflakes will take place in three separate auctions, open to everyone, from November 19 to 23, November 26-30, and December 3-7. You can read here for more information (the image above is a publicity image for the upcoming auctions, used with permission from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. You may click on the image itself to launch the Robert's Snow site).

What we in the kidlitosphere community want to do to help drive traffic to the site for this year's auctions and help raise money for the cause is highlight at our blogs the illustrators who have created snowflakes for these upcoming '07 auctions — as well as post the unique snowflakes they have made (one at a time at each blog, which the DFCI has graciously given us permission to do), ultimately driving as much traffic as we possibly can to the Robert's Snow online auctions. Many bloggers have expressed a desire to do something, and we think this can be our unique contribution. If you are a blogger interested in doing so (and we need all the help we can get), here's how it will work:

At the bottom of this post is a link to the list of the illustrators thus far (some of them have yet to complete their snowflakes, so there will be more) who will be contributing snowflakes for the 2007 auctions. If you are willing to commit to highlighting five (or less) of these illustrators in posts at your blog — starting on a day in either October or early November (the launch date will be decided after talking a bit more to the DFCI and after seeing how many bloggers are interested in participating) — contact Jules at seventhings *at* blaine *dot* org. I'll let you know if someone else has already chosen that illustrator (it'll have to be first-come, first-serve), and we'll decide which illustrators you are going to commit to featuring at your blog.

You will then contact that illustrator directly (if you cannot find contact information online, we bloggers can band together and try our best to help you find that information via various and sundry publisher/publicity contacts) to ask if he or she is willing to be featured at your blog — as in, do a write-up about this illustrator, books illustrated, etc. It doesn't have to be a terribly detailed thing, though you can go crazy if you'd like. Perhaps the illustrator will give you permission to feature some art work. Perhaps you can just show book covers. You will also have the DFCI's permission to post an image of the illustrator's unique snowflake created this year. The idea is to let the emphasis be on the illustrator and the fact that she or he created a snowflake for this cause and to point readers in the direction of that auction.

Note: Some bloggers might want to feature more than five illustrators. For now, to keep things relatively simple, we'll start with five max, but we might need bloggers to take more later. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Another note: Do. not. be. intimidated. by. this. Eisha and I (Jules) feature illustrators every Sunday at our blog, and I can't tell you how willing most of them are to share their art work. A lot of other bloggers could probably tell you the same thing. Of all the illustrators we've highlighted since we started featuring them every Sunday, only perhaps two never even returned our emails. The rest of them were as pleased to be featured as we were to feature them. Don't be scared. It's not as daunting as it might sound.

Bloggers who participate must agree to certain terms. First, you must — it mostly goes without saying — link to the auction site itself. That is the whole idea here. Second, you must notify Jules as soon as your post(s) featuring your illustrators goes live and send me the direct URLs for these posts (again, we won't start this until October or November; I'm not talkin' next week here). Why is this? Because I will keep here at 7-Imp a running Master Schedule (daily, for as long as this multi-blog, cross-posting effort lasts) of all the snowflake-making-illustrators featured at all your blogs. You can directly link your post to this (or you can even copy that day's schedule to post at your own blog). This way we can direct readers (who want more information on all the illustrators involved in this fundraising effort) directly to the blogs that are featuring them, and all blogs will be pointing readers straight in the direction of the Robert's Snow site. Essentially, it will all work in a multi-blog, cross-posting way, just like the recent Summer Blog Blast Tour and Under the Radar events. (And, yes, if this sounds like a Colleen Mondor master plan of action, that's 'cause I got her expert guidance on organizing all this. I still want her to, say, run my life or something. She's just so good at this, but I digress).</p>

So, if you're interested in this and it seems like something to which you can commit, please contact Jules at seventhings *at* blaine *dot* org Again, right now I simply need to know how many bloggers are interested in highlighting an illustrator (or two or three or four or five!). After that point — and after talking a bit more with the DFCI — we will finalize exactly when we will launch all this.

We can do it, you all. It really won't be that hard. And why are we doing this? Why are we honoring Robert's memory when most of us never even met him? Because 1) we care about Grace; 2) we probably all — each and every one of us, I dare say — know someone who has been affected by cancer; 3) we as bloggers can band together and put our keyboards and minds to work toward this good, cure-seeking cause; 4) it's just really neat to see these illustrators put their talents toward this fundraising effort, not to mention to see their beautiful and funny and creative and clever and one-of-a-kind artwork on these wood snowflakes; and 5) we can't all afford a unique snowflake created by one of our favorite illustrators, but we can help direct those who can afford them to this site to do our part in helping raise funds to fight cancer ('cause, of course, we'll also band together and publicize this/get the word out about this as much as we possibly can).

Click here to read the list of illustrators (thus far) who have created snowflakes for the '07 auctions, posted with permission from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. There will be more illustrators and snowflakes, too, and we'll get that covered once it's all finalized. For now, if you're interested in featuring any of these illustrators and their snowflakes, contact Jules at seventhings *at* blaine *dot* org

Final and Most Important Note: None of this would be possible without the assistance of Elaine Magliaro. Thanks, Elaine.

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